11/08/2010 1:25PM

Dryfly returns from injury in sprint

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Sunny Taylor/Coady Photography
Dryfly will make his first start since February in a sprint Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dryfly was so highly regarded that he was listed as a separate wagering interest in Pool 1of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in mid-February, closing at 46-1. Unfortunately for his connections and fans, that would be the extent of his Derby possibilities, as Dryfly exited the Feb. 20 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park with a knee chip requiring surgery.

Nearly nine months later, Dryfly is back, “ready to run again,” according to trainer Lynn Whiting. The 3-year-old Jump Start gelding is one of eight entered in the Wednesday feature at Churchill Downs, a $54,000, six-furlong race carrying a third-level allowance condition or $80,000 claiming option.

“We gave him time, and he’s come back and trained well,” said Whiting, who trains Dryfly for Oaklawn owner Charles Cella. “He’s a high-quality horse, and I think he can go ahead and be competitive in stakes again, if everything stays in good stead.”

Dryfly won 3 of 4 starts, including the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn in January, before incurring the knee injury when ninth of 10 as the 3-1 second choice in the Southwest, from which the top three finishers – Conveyance, Dublin, and Mission Impazible – all wound up in the Kentucky Derby.

Whiting said he has scanned the past performances for Dryfly’s comeback spot, the eighth of 10 Wednesday races, and “there are a couple in there against us that can run,” specifically mentioning Captain Cherokee and Snapshot as the horses to beat. “But we are geared up to run.”

Calvin Borel will be aboard Dryfly from post 8.

Captain Cherokee, trained by Steve Asmussen, was a sharp second in a recent Belmont Park allowance, while Snapshot was the runner-up in the Grade 2 True North at Belmont in June.

One other allowance (race 9) also is carded for Wednesday. It’s a $50,000, first-level turf route that drew an overflow field of 2-year-old fillies, with one of four also-eligibles, Lauren Byrd, likely to be favored if she can make it into the race. Lauren Byrd was second in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland in her last start.

There is a carryover of $6,535 into the $2 pick six (races 5-10), but no carryover into the $1 super high five (race 10) for Wednesday. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.